George Sand (1804-1876)
Jumping ahead a couple thousand years, we meet George Sand. This influential French writer was wildly prolific, producing dozens of novels, quite a few plays, several memoirs, and sheaves of literary criticism. Still, she found plenty of time for mischief. Sand (born Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) was one of many 19th-century female authors who adopted a male pen name, but her gender-bending didn’t stop there. She was known for wearing men’s clothing in public, because she found it more practical than the Victorian-era gowns that constrained other women of the era, and smoked tobacco — a big no-no for ladies at the time. And then there was her romantic life: Married at 19 and divorced nine years later, Sand carried on affairs with some of her most illustrious contemporaries, including Prosper Mérimée and Frédéric Chopin.